Simmons linked to tantalising trade
Ben Simmons' three-point shooting woes could well be fixed by putting him next to one of the great shooters in basketball history.
After a month where Simmons has had backhanded swipes from his own Philadelphia 76ers teammate Joel Embiid on his three-point shooting, the 23-year-old Aussie has been linked with a blockbuster move to the Golden State Warriors, where he'd be alongside Steph Curry.
That's one way to solve his shooting issues.
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Pundits and fans have speculated over the past few seasons that Simmons and Embiid might not be the answer for the 76ers going forward.
The Athletic suggests D'Angelo Russell and Ben Simmons might be the best like-for-like trade in the off-season.
"One of the interesting possibilities I've heard being kicked around is Russell for Philadelphia's Ben Simmons," Marcus Thompson II wrote. "The 76ers could use a point guard who can score and run the show - and shoot. Some believe the pairing of Simmons and big man Joel Embiid isn't viable in their pursuit of a championship. Simmons, as one source told me, is probably the best player the Warriors could possibly get for Russell, just considering the needs of the Warriors and their potential trade partners.
"Simmons would certainly be a special talent to add. Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and Simmons would be quite the quartet. But before the 76ers would even entertain the idea, the Warriors would have to be in agreement on it."
Both sides would also seem to want more out of the deal with plenty needing to happen in the meantime for this to come off, but it is a mouth-watering prospect especially after Curry and Klay Thompson get back to work.
Thompson II admits there may be some obstacles standing in the way with Draymond Green also a hesitant shooter from beyond the arc and he and Simmons playing a fairly similar style.
Interestingly, there is also speculation that Green and Alec Burks from the Warriors could potentially be dealt to the LA Lakers for Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green, which could help, although it seems there are plenty of options for a trade for Kuzma.
CBS Sports suggested Simmons could attract a deal including Russell and the Warriors' 2020 first-round pick which, after their nightmare 2019/20 season, could be the No. 1 pick.
Or alternately, the Warriors could look to solve the Green issue by trading both Russell and Green, while the 76ers would give the Warriors Simmons and Al Horford in return.
The speculation comes after Simmons shot his first two three-pointers, but hasn't had a shot since.
His 76ers and Boomers coach Brett Brown called for Simmons to take at least one shot for three per game but the Aussie has failed to take notice.
After 15 games of no movement from beyond the arc, Brown admitted failure.
"Evidently I have failed, and it's something that we're all mindful of, and this is one of these things that is never going to go away," Brown said. "The attention this has received is remarkable. But I guess I helped fuel it, and I own it, and I've got to help him find this, and more importantly, he has to find himself."
Similarly last week, Embiid took a thinly-veiled swipe at Simmons, with both of Philadelphia's big offensive weapons preferring to play in the paint.
"We just got to look at ourselves and see what we can do individually, we've got to help each other even if it means being outside of your comfort zone for the greater (good) to help the team win," Embiid told reporters.
"Meaning that, if you've got to space and shoot it, you've got to do it. We need everybody to buy into that and we'll be fine, we're going to be fine. We're still finding our groove, we haven't been totally healthy, the whole starting line-up. Like I said, we'll be fine."
Speaking on ESPN's The Jump, Chicago Bulls legend and six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen said Simmons "isn't ready for the shot".
"This is a grown man shot, this is a mature shot and he's not ready," Pippen said. "He is not the type of player who came into this league as a shooter, he's more a facilitator, a distributor. He's great at everything in the game but he's just not a shooter and that's going to take some more time. He's going to have to mature, it may take another two to three years. It may not be next year but it's real talk that Brett Brown has given him the green light and he's refused to take it. That tells me he's not ready to pull the trigger.
"No one can play in this league if you can't shoot. You're not going to be wanted on the court, there's no space for you unless you are Dennis Rodman, you are Ben Wallace, you have to do something special on that offensive end to be a part of it."
Pippen said it might be better if Simmons played inside, with Embiid playing on the outside despite the Cameroonian centre's height advantage.
Host Rachel Nichols said "it seems insane in some ways to give up either one of them" but it's appearing more likely Simmons needs a team built around him.
It sounds like fans should continue to watch this space.